Since the beginning of the 1990s, Mongolia has faced the challenge of introducing democratic institutions and procedures to a long-standing traditional society. In 2003, at The Fifth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies, the then-government, along with civil society, decided to conduct a State of Democracy assessment. The study was carried out by three international experts in 2005. Further research was conducted by academics from the Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Law at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, with the full participation and support of the Mongolian government, which resulted in the 2006 report. As a follow-up, a second State of Democracy assessment was conducted in 2008 and its conclusions were published the following year. A later 2011 report highlighted recent changes with a focus on the legal environment and public opinion.
Mongolia was the first country to establish State of Democracy assessments as a fundamental part of an ongoing democracy evaluation process, setting itself as a true example of the key role of democracy assessments. This became an institutionalized process through the establishment of Mongolian Millennium Development Goal 9 (MDG-9) on democratic governance and human rights, which set in place permanent continuous assessments. A 2006 report presented the methodology, and a follow-up assessment was published in 2009, which covers both the development of the MDG-9 indicators and the second State of Democracy report. The 2006 report also resulted in the creation of a National Plan of Action, key elements of which have begun to be institutionalized with support from the international community. Together, the reports have promoted a political culture that supports democracy by encouraging the systematic collection of evidence related to new democratic governance indicators.
In a more limited pilot initiative in Mongolia 2013, International IDEA worked with members of the Zorig Foundation to conduct an assessment of primary health care. This session took place during the early stages of developing the Democratic Accountability in Service Delivery assessment tool. It culminated in a brief desk review, which assessed the mechanisms of democratic accountability that were in place with regards to the primary health services, and provided useful input into how to make the tool user friendly and relevant to local challenges. A relevant conclusion pointed out that the health services’ first contact of service, the primary clinics, are not being used as entry points into the system due to a series of factors, ranging from mistrust in the system to a lack of knowledge regarding its structure.
Additional efforts in Mongolia are anticipated, depending on the priorities and resources available to local partners and International IDEA.